Remember the song “Time in a Bottle”? That’s on my mind as I write today. I’m fairly convinced that the type of popular music that we like is linked to when we were juniors and seniors in high school. My personal favorites include Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Birds, Three Dog Night, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, The Who, The Beatles, and, especially, The Moody Blues, who I repeatedly listened to as I read and reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Whenever I think of Middle Earth I can’t help but think of the mystical sounds of the Moody Blues.
Here I am squarely at middle-age, and life’s bookends are staring me in the face. I have enough time under my belt to retire, but that’s too far away to even ponder, much less desire. Being Columbia DS is an exhilarating challenge and last night’s Set-Up meeting has gotten me jacked up for another ministry-filled year! On the other hand, I’m missing summer and wondering how to get back to the beach, mountains, and any place of solitude. That’s my life, maybe yours, wondering about where I’ve come from, and rethinking, remembering. For instance, rethinking childhood and adolescence is an idyllic mixture of triumphs and wounds, from first love to broken bones, winning seasons to a Charlie Brownish dropping of the ball. It’s hard at whatever the age to keep one’s mind off the “befores and afters” of life.
But God is eternal and knows no time though time-bound for a short period through Jesus’ incarnation. For God, age is ageless. For God, time is always kairos not chronos. “Kairos” is one ancient Greek word for time. It defines time by the content of the moment. “Chronos” defines time in the manner that I am most accustomed. By its definition time is spatial, chronological, and linear. Chronological time views things as “fifteen minutes UNTIL something,” or “thirty minutes AFTER something.” Conversely, kairos time is more digital than spatial. It is defined by the God-moment, the experience rather than by what comes before or after.
In this regard our watches and clocks which display time in a spatial way, with spaces between seconds, minutes, and hours, are antithetical to a celebration of the “now.” Digital clocks and watches flash the exact hour and minute begging us to think in the present and live in the now without pressing us to think about before and after. God help us to live in the now! The past may have been great, and I am looking forward to better days ahead, but to live faithfully in this world is to do it as God does – giving my complete attention to whomever and whatever is before me right now. If our favorite music is defined by the content of certain life stages, may we dare give another listen to the sounds about us now? It might not be classical, swing band, country, rock and roll, the blues, or ballads that we need to listen to. There just might be enough God-presence in the sounds of a loved one’s sigh, the arthritic creaking of our own joints belying the hopeful maturity of the years, or the sweet-baby noises unintelligible yet profoundly clear in their message of love upon which we need to focus today. Focus we will, for time is of the essence! Think digital and live digital in God’s Time.